Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Search for Number 16, part 1

In all of my family history research, there has always been a brick wall that frustrated me. I did not know the name of my maternal grandmother's grandmother. That means that on a standard five-generation family tree chart with me at the center and places for the names of my 16 great-great grandparents, there was always a blank at the bottom of the chart where a name should be.

Now there are a lot of wonderful charts and artworks available where genealogists can create five-generation family trees. I've been frustrated for years that I couldn't take advantage of those items (especially the handcrafted ones) because I did not know the name of Number 16. I didn't want to spend all that money only to have a blank space at the bottom.

Back in December, with the encouragement of a friend, I committed to finding that 16th great-great grandparent.  I had a daughter's maiden name as well as a possible Austrian village hometown. What I didn't have was any experience searching this area of the world or any idea how to proceed with this task.

The first effort I made was to list everything I knew about my Number 16's daughter, Cecelia Yost, in a blog post. I didn't get any immediate response, but at least the details were out there.

Cecilia: my great-grandmother and daughter of Number 16

I did receive an email in regard to a post I made on a message board. The person said he/she had lots of information on the village of Inzenhof and the Jost family name. Great, right? Well I couldn't get any questions answered. I don't know if it was a language barrier or what but this lead didn't pan out.

Admittedly, it was the resolution I made (as well as some good-natured teasing from friends) that got the ball rolling. I found this neat website called the Burgenland Bunch, which detailed genealogy information in the area where Cecelia was supposedly born. I joined up for free, gave out all the information I had and hit send.

That simple effort opened a door...

Read The Search for Number 16, part 2.

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